While ridiculing The Drudge Report today for daring to mention that nearly 400 sponsors have fled his Fox News, Glenn Beck slipped something interesting in his radio show. He mentioned the rumors that he is going to bolt from FNC in December, but he never denied them. In fact, he mentioned them, then immediately changed the subject.
Here is the audio from Media Matters:
Beck was complaining about Drudge and said, “I just, it is weird. I just clicked over to The Drudge Report an hour ago and they had the ratings and now an hour later the headline is, ‘t’s On, and I may bolt, which I and now I am a loser in ratings and the number who boycotted is 400 sponsors now.” The Drudge headline is reference to the New York Times story about Beck possibly bolting Fox News to form his own network.
Besides Beck’s preposterous reasoning that it was impossible for his FNC show to lose 400 sponsors because a program can’t have 400 sponsors at the same time, as Glenn neglected to mention that his program has lost all of its initial sponsors and now continues to lose the replacement sponsors, their replacements, and so on, did you catch how Beck answered the question about whether or not he was going to bolt Fox News by changing the subject and not answering at all?
Glenn Beck also issued a non-denial denial written statement, “I have no intention whatsoever of doing the show I am doing now on Fox anywhere else.” What Beck actually denied was that he would go to another network and do the same kind of show that he currently does on Fox News. He never said that he would stay at Fox, nor did he deny the possibility of moving on and doing a different show somewhere else. Beck has hired one of FNC’s senior execs to work at his production company, and it is starting to look obvious that he and Fox News will be parting ways.
The rumor that Beck would start his own network is very doubtful because Glenn Beck is completely toxic to advertisers. Fox News can’t sell the spots on the Glenn Beck’s program now. How would Beck attract advertisers to his own network? My hunch is that we already got a sneak peek at Beck’s future plans when he recently hosted a live webcast program on his website that ran in competition with Fox News.
I don’t see Beck starting his own cable network, but he understands that he could make a whole lot of money simply by expanding his web presence. We saw it with The Blaze, and I suspect that Glenn Beck is eying up the possibility of building something like a multi-media more conservative Huffington Post. (I said more conservative, because it has been a long time since HuffPo was either liberal or maintained more than a passing interest in politics).
Glenn Beck likely views the Internet as the place where he can have maximum freedom to shape Republican politics completely unfettered. Plus, he would only need to maintain a fraction of his existing audience to have a very profitable and successful venture.
The truth is that the conservative television audience is both small and completely monopolized by Fox News. Glenn Beck would never be able to attract enough advertisers to make his on TV network profitable, and he could never be in enough homes to compete with Fox News for the 3 million or so conservatives who watch cable news, but by dodging the subject today, Beck added more fuel to the fire, and sent the strongest signal yet that he believes that his days at Fox News are numbered.
Fox News would be fine without the Glenn Beck. The intriguing question is how would Glenn Beck do without Fox News?